The custom shoe market has grown steadily in recent years, thanks in part to the popularity of Nike's customizable sneaker options. If you are looking for a unique Nike Air Max or Nike Air Force, you can easily design one. E-commerce and social media, driven by customizable drops of Nike and other hot sneaker brands, have broadened the size and scale of the custom shoe market.
But sneakers aren't the only custom shoes that style-conscious consumers are after, and luckily, the custom shoe market is expanding into dress and casual shoes and boots for both men and women.
Why custom shoes?
Why are custom shoes like Nike Air Max and other types of custom footwear becoming more and more popular? The reasons vary from person to person, but many share some of these characteristics:
One-of-a-kind accessory. Those who value individualism will find that a custom shoe that no one else owns becomes part of their image as one who doesn't follow the crowd, but can stand apart. With each design being different, more individuality is expressed.
No repeats. Many want increased variety in their dress and adding custom shoes to a wardrobe allows for different combinations of outfits. A variety of custom shoes will allow more options for unique outfits that aren't the same day in and day out.
Special occasion footwear. Even if men or women don't want or need custom shoes as part of their everyday outfit choices, many might want a design to wear on a special celebration day such as a wedding. You thought through every detail of your unique and special day, why not add in a unique pair of custom shoes!
Comfort and fit. Many times, off-the-shelf shoes are close, but not quite right in comfort and fit. Designing a custom shoe can allow a consumer to choose a toe style or heel height that is better suited to their comfort. If you can design a shoe that better fits your foot, your style, and your life, that is an all-around win.
Supporting independent artists and small businesses. Increasingly, millennials and younger generations behind them show an interest in supporting artists and small businesses that are local and individual, as opposed to big businesses that are typical and feel generic. Investing in a solid pair of custom shoes can boost the reputation and market share of businesses that are independently owned and operated.
How do I buy custom shoes?
When considering purchasing a pair of custom shoes beyond sneakers, you want to find a business that offers creative and quality options to help you design your shoe. Websites that provide ideas, suggestions, and varied selections can be a good starting place. And while handmade options are at a higher price point, the value of careful craftsmanship and top-quality materials make these options a good investment.
Here are some general guidelines to consider when buying custom shoes:
Type of footwear. Do you want a boot or a shoe? Do you want something casual, like a suede Chelsea boot, or formal like an Oxford? Are you interested in a loafer or a slipper? Maybe you want a trainer that is practical for travel but stylish enough to lift your look above a typical sneaker. Thinking through the type of footwear you want is the starting place from which you can build your custom designs.
Style. This is a broad category that encompasses custom design elements from toe shape (pointed is more formal, rounded feels traditional, and slightly square can be classy and elegant), heel height and composition, and the look of accessories such as buckles, laces, or pull tabs. Bringing together different textures and colors can create amazing variety and atypical custom designs that will draw attention to your unique footwear.
Material. At the heart of the shoes is the "skin," or what the shoe is made of. Custom shoe designers offer amazing varieties of fabric and leather options, and some designs combine the two. Shoe uppers can be made from traditional, quality leathers in a range of colors and styles (think burgundy, shades of brown, black). If you are in search of an exotic look, you can find actual skins like ostrich, alligator, and python. Fabric choices allow you to choose and integrate plaid, hounds tooth, or other patterns to create one-of-a-kind looks. These unique textures, either alone or combined with others, can create custom designs that are unique and eye-catching.
Buying custom shoes can both satisfy a customer's desire to be trendy and fashionable while also considering quality workmanship. Custom shoes are an investment in your personal style and in companies who value unique, classic carefully made shoes for men and women.